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Old 04-20-2013, 02:18 PM   #16
bcla
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Double check on the Lucas Arts... Disney announced earlier this month that they are closing the studio and many have already been laid off, so probably not an option any longer.
Disney only shut down LucasArts Games. It hadn't been profitable in years. That's only a tiny portion of the employees there. There's still hundreds of employees there who aren't going anywhere.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:33 PM   #17
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We are really grateful for your posts! Love the ideas!
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:41 AM   #18
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Public transport is fine and easy.

You can definitely drive to the wharf or downtown easily as well - might be different driving than where you are from, but no biggie really. You can park at the garage at 5th and Mission for Yerba Buena, Union Square, even Ferry Building if you don't mind a little walk. Where near the presidio are you staying? If you can get to Geary, the 38 goes straight downtown. Garages are expensive I guess... I used to think that when I moved here 13 years ago, but now I'm like - oh great, under 30 bucks, that's a steal! If you are going to the big areas you can find a parking garage - other places, like say you want to go to the Mission or a smaller neighborhood, parking can be more challenging. You should easily be able to park in GGP too - but that is pretty close to the presidio so depending where you are staying you may more easily get a bus or walk.

Last year my kids were begging to do the hop on/off bus tour and we actually really enjoyed it! Their favorite is the golden gate fortune cookie factory in Ross Alley in Chinatown - they went there on a field trip and loved it! Just literally a small hole in the wall. Those cookies are yum.

I like the exploratorium better then the academy - looking forward to the new opening and will probably take our visitors there this summer.

Be sure to take a walk at Crissy Field when you are at the Disney museum. Best views in the city in my opinion when it's not foggy.

When are you coming? Please keep in mind in the summer it can be cold. And I mean like cold in the 50's. Especially on the west side of the city. Layers, layers, layers. No one ever wears shorts, unless it is super hot, and that is maybe like 1 day a year! Seriously it can be freezing especially near the water. Don't be an idiot tourist shivering in a tank top at the wharf. And the weather can change quickly - I never ever go anywhere without my fleece jacket - even when it seems warm and sunny - you go like 2 miles away, the fog rolls in, and BANG! Freezing.

Have fun!!

Kim
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:49 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by gatorfreud View Post
Public transport is fine and easy.

You can definitely drive to the wharf or downtown easily as well - might be different driving than where you are from, but no biggie really. You can park at the garage at 5th and Mission for Yerba Buena, Union Square, even Ferry Building if you don't mind a little walk. Where near the presidio are you staying? If you can get to Geary, the 38 goes straight downtown. Garages are expensive I guess... I used to think that when I moved here 13 years ago, but now I'm like - oh great, under 30 bucks, that's a steal! If you are going to the big areas you can find a parking garage - other places, like say you want to go to the Mission or a smaller neighborhood, parking can be more challenging. You should easily be able to park in GGP too - but that is pretty close to the presidio so depending where you are staying you may more easily get a bus or walk.

Last year my kids were begging to do the hop on/off bus tour and we actually really enjoyed it! Their favorite is the golden gate fortune cookie factory in Ross Alley in Chinatown - they went there on a field trip and loved it! Just literally a small hole in the wall. Those cookies are yum.

I like the exploratorium better then the academy - looking forward to the new opening and will probably take our visitors there this summer.

Be sure to take a walk at Crissy Field when you are at the Disney museum. Best views in the city in my opinion when it's not foggy.

When are you coming? Please keep in mind in the summer it can be cold. And I mean like cold in the 50's. Especially on the west side of the city. Layers, layers, layers. No one ever wears shorts, unless it is super hot, and that is maybe like 1 day a year! Seriously it can be freezing especially near the water. Don't be an idiot tourist shivering in a tank top at the wharf. And the weather can change quickly - I never ever go anywhere without my fleece jacket - even when it seems warm and sunny - you go like 2 miles away, the fog rolls in, and BANG! Freezing.

Have fun!!

Kim
I was there today and took my kid to the new Exploratorium for the first time. It was nice and sunny. Tons of tourists wearing shorts and I can't say it was a problem. It did get a bit windy at late afternoon, but it was about as ideal weather as I'd expect for mid April in San Francisco. Of course I was carrying an extra fleece shirt and even a waterproof/windproof rain jacket in case it got really windy.

What is tricky for the tourist to navigate is meter parking. As a revenue booster, San Francisco MTA recently started enforcing meter hours on Sunday. It's only 12-6 PM, and it's typically a 4 hour limit (may be 1 hour weekdays). If you arrive before meters operate, you can prepay so that your parking period starts at the beginning of the enforcement period. Older meters used to be dumb ones that didn't care, took your money, and operated oblivious to the enforcement hours. The Sunday rate is the same as weekdays/Saturday and varies by location. A lot of people found themselves with warnings as they did a trial period, then they hit parkers with real tickets.

The other thing is that the San Francisco Port Dept operates meters close to the waterfront. These have been 7-days a week as long as I can remember. They charge maybe $2.50/hr from 9 AM-7 PM then 50 cents an hour until 11 PM. It's hard to describe the difference, but you'll know when you look at the rates and time of operation. They use different equipment (pay stations [that don't give out receipts] and single meters with lots of buttons) than the city ones. However, their equipment takes credit cards (the buttons are used to select the amount of time and to authorize the charge).

Of course I took public transportation. If I did drive in, I'd just park someplace where I could leave my car all day (there are places) that are reasonably close to public transportation.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:38 AM   #20
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Ooh how was the new Exploratorium? I haven't been yet!
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3/07 - All Star Sports
7/07 - Disney's Vero Beach
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1/08 - Disneyland
3/08 - Camping at Fort Wilderness
6/08 - Saratoga Springs and SWW!
10/08- DLR, GCH no kids!
11/08 - DLR, DLH Thanksgiving
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:09 PM   #21
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Ooh how was the new Exploratorium? I haven't been yet!
Really big. Seemed like a warehouse, which most of the old piers really are. Lots of exposed ceiling space, although it wasn't as high as the old Palace of Fine Arts building (I have been to the old Exploratorium in years). Seems a lot more polished than I remember the old Exploratorium, which had the appearance of a work in progress, which it perpetually was. The nicest thing were the sofas and chairs almost everywhere. Sometimes I just sat down and watched my kid play. There was also a line of rocking chairs.

I was able to apply my admission to a membership. My kid is under 5, so I got the one adult and one guest membership - for $95. I figure I can usually make my wife the "guest" and maybe take other people there from out of town. The single admission prices seem really high though. $25 for adults and $19 for kids/seniors. There's the Bay Area discount if you live in one of the nine Bay Area counties - $20 for adults and $15 for kids/seniors. They're also going to have some free days starting this fall.

There isn't that much to eat around there. They've got the two overpriced restaurants on site. Other than that, most of the options are going to be starting at the Ferry Building or around Fishermans Wharf. The only other place nearby is the TCHO Chocolates factory and cafe on Pier 17. They don't really have much to eat other than chocolate, but they have coffee and also coffee/chocolate mixed drinks. I think the coffee they serve is from Blue Bottle. Their drip coffee was individually ground and then prepared in a single cone.

I think admission can be included in the San Francisco CityPASS. It's either the Exploratorium or the de Young Museum + Palace of the Legion of Honor.

As for the Exploratorium, my kid is going to want to go back over and over.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:44 PM   #22
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Chiming in so I can get great tips.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:38 PM   #23
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Irish coffee at the Buena Vista and lunch at Gott's in the Ferry Building. Plus you should go to Alcatraz.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:16 AM   #24
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Really big. Seemed like a warehouse, which most of the old piers really are. Lots of exposed ceiling space, although it wasn't as high as the old Palace of Fine Arts building (I have been to the old Exploratorium in years). Seems a lot more polished than I remember the old Exploratorium, which had the appearance of a work in progress, which it perpetually was. The nicest thing were the sofas and chairs almost everywhere. Sometimes I just sat down and watched my kid play. There was also a line of rocking chairs.

I was able to apply my admission to a membership. My kid is under 5, so I got the one adult and one guest membership - for $95. I figure I can usually make my wife the "guest" and maybe take other people there from out of town. The single admission prices seem really high though. $25 for adults and $19 for kids/seniors. There's the Bay Area discount if you live in one of the nine Bay Area counties - $20 for adults and $15 for kids/seniors. They're also going to have some free days starting this fall.

There isn't that much to eat around there. They've got the two overpriced restaurants on site. Other than that, most of the options are going to be starting at the Ferry Building or around Fishermans Wharf. The only other place nearby is the TCHO Chocolates factory and cafe on Pier 17. They don't really have much to eat other than chocolate, but they have coffee and also coffee/chocolate mixed drinks. I think the coffee they serve is from Blue Bottle. Their drip coffee was individually ground and then prepared in a single cone.

I think admission can be included in the San Francisco CityPASS. It's either the Exploratorium or the de Young Museum + Palace of the Legion of Honor.

As for the Exploratorium, my kid is going to want to go back over and over.
Can you still use the library passes for free admission? We've done that for tons of attractions in the city.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:25 AM   #25
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When we visited San Francisco, we did it completely without driving our own car. We took public transport the entire time, and we never had any problems with it. In fact, taking public transport added to the adventure factor for us, as our city doesn't have the same level of public transportation available.

I saw that someone mentioned the fortune cookie factory. We splurged and did a guided walking tour of Chinatown which not only included fortune cookies, but also lunch and lots of sights/history that we would have missed otherwise. Alcatraz was also a lot of fun.

And I second the suggestion to take a jacket and be prepared to layer your clothing. We were there in June, and I thought it was chilly.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:29 AM   #26
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Can you still use the library passes for free admission? We've done that for tons of attractions in the city.
I think so. It's on my county library's list of free museum passes for county residents. However, those are usually limited per day. I was looking for free passes this weekend for Aquarium of the Bay. I got one for Sunday but not Saturday (my preferred day). I didn't see any Exploratorium passes available. I believe they're limited and are probably snapped up quickly. As a member, I can go any time, even if they're sold out for regular admission.

Addendum: I checked again, and I can't find any Exploratorium passes available from my county's library. There is a survey that asks how one's previous visit was, and the Exploratorium is listed as a possible attraction served by the museum pass program. I'm not 100% sure how these work but I think there are limits. They might not be available depending on whether or not a particular museum releases passes to each library. A particular museum might restrict the release to a certain window before the visit (e.g. not more than a week in advance) and perhaps check to see how many advance tickets they've sold before deciding whether to release library free passes and how many to release. I don't think they're too keen on having too many people visit with these passes. I think participation with libraries might be free as a courtesy. They'd be giving up locals admission of $20 per adult and $15 per child. For a family of 5 that would be $85.

Here's their FAQ:

Quote:
http://www.exploratorium.edu/visit/faq#free

Do you have any free days?

In addition to free access for field trips for San Francisco Title 1 schools, the Exploratorium is free to everyone five days every year effective fall 2013.

Our Free Access Program includes upcoming free days on
  • Engineering Day (September 29, 2013)
  • Founders Day (October 13, 2013)
  • Groundhog Day (February 2, 2014)
  • Pi Day (March 14, 2014)
  • Mothers Day (May 11, 2014)
The Exploratorium works with local libraries and community groups to provide additional free access. For more information, contact our Guest Services department at visit@exploratorium.edu, or at (415) 528-4444.

Last edited by bcla; 05-03-2013 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Addendum
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:18 PM   #27
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Can't help it, but the thread title reminded me of something a co-worker used to say, long time ago:

"There are a million things to do in San Francisco; and half of them are eat".

-Bob
I agree!! The food is the best part. Love having sundaes at Ghirardelli square (do the main restaurant by the water fountain, the other small stores only give you to go cups that don't seem as big).

Look up other restaurants on yelp, I go by the reviews and anything I've tried from there is amazing. Amazing brunch/breakfast places and any other types of restaurants in all price ranges. For fresh oysters/seafood Swan Oyster Depot is great, but be prepared for a line.

Other super fun things I've done there is Go Car rental and Segway tours. The Go Car (in Fisherman's wharf area) was so fun since you get a great tour through some of the city and fun going down Lombard street in it.

Don't miss Alcatraz (might need advanced reservation). Other boat tours are also fun, like Rocket Boat.

At Pier 39 don't miss the sea lions.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:40 PM   #28
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I agree!! The food is the best part. Love having sundaes at Ghirardelli square (do the main restaurant by the water fountain, the other small stores only give you to go cups that don't seem as big).
I read a lot of complaints that people waited too long there and received sundaes that were melted, with service that's indifferent at best. It's an absolute zoo there during the tourist season. The saving grace is that their prices are reasonable. Maybe I'll try it some day when we do the local tourist thing.

There's one place that's really loved by locals but isn't in a tourist area per se. It's Bi-Rite Creamery, which is affiliated with Bi-Rite Market - a local independent grocery store. They have a handmade ice cream made from really good ingredients. The signature flavor they have is salted caramel. I guess some people love it, but I thought it was merely OK and kind of strange. It tasted like burnt sugar to me. The flavor that rocks my world is roasted banana. The main creamery site is on 18th St and there's often a line out the door across the corner.



The market has a new store on Divisadero, and I understand they have an ice cream section serving scoops and sundaes.

Now the place I grew up with ice cream is Fentons Creamery in Oakland. If you're not to scared to venture into big bad Oakland (actually this neighborhood is quite upscale) and have a vehicle, it's worth a trip. That place is just awesome. There's some argument over whether Rocky Road ice cream originated here or at Dreyer's.

http://www.fentonscreamery.com



This is the Banana Special. When I was a kid I could have sworn it was much larger, but maybe it was because I was much smaller.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:46 PM   #29
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Here are a few more things to do around San Francisco.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2451585
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:28 AM   #30
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I saw that someone mentioned the fortune cookie factory. We splurged and did a guided walking tour of Chinatown which not only included fortune cookies, but also lunch and lots of sights/history that we would have missed otherwise. .
Could you please post or PM me the details of the walking tour?? It sounds interesting
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